RL215 - Occasional Live Keyboardist

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The problem: Fuck these particular strawberries, referring to one time in Braintree, Essex where John bought strawberries for £2 just before he saw identical strawberries for £1 around the corner.

The show title refers to Leeroy Thornhill from the band Prodigy who was a dancer and an occasional live keyboardist.

John has several technical difficulties during the show where he disappears for a minute.

John used his cough button / mute button as he had to cough.

Merlin got two bells that are a third apart.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Apple iPhone Event (RL215)

They were starting late today because there was a big Apple event with some new iPhone that Merlin had to know about and John understood totally that Merlin needed to postpone their already once postponed podcast in order to go to the television or to a library to watch the big reveal where someone in a black turtleneck walks around with a digital pointer. The turtleneck was a Steve thing and now it is mostly vice presidents in their 60s in untucked blue shirts in a shade called new-media blue. John approves of vice presidents, he does not like a lot of people on the C-level, because too many C spoils the soup.

Whenever Apple is having an event it almost certainly means that John is going to have to sign a new set of terms and conditions of iTunes because every time he turns on his computer he somehow has to accept a new set of terms and conditions. He does because he doesn’t want to be held at the customs building at the border of Slovakia and Ukraine.

This is the year of the headphone jack controversy that has been revealed recently and people are saying that this is the final sign that Apple without Steve Jobs has lost its path. Merlin continues to explain some of the details of the new iPhone, like it being water resistant which would have been good 3 days ago when his daughter poured an entire bottle of water into his wife’s purse and ruined her phone and everything else in her purse. Even her money is wet! John gets wet money a lot because he is a perspirer, but he doesn’t stick it in his sock because he is not afraid of being jacked. They talk about how you cannot charge your phone and listen to music at the same time if it doesn't have a headphone jack.

John wonders if there is a reason for him to have an Apple Watch.

If John was a person who wanted to pay $900 for a new phone because AT&T no longer offers the old deals, the iPhone 7 will have a new battery that will be a lot better, it is butt-tons faster, it got an insane camera on it, and it is water resistant.

John’s iPad was stolen in the great caper and returned by the Renton police department, but he has a tenuous connection to it as a media device in the first place. He was watching a film on his phone while his coffee was standing on his iPad, which is an indication that the iPad is not really for him. The bigger iPhone might be something for him, because he is a big man with big pockets.

John’s lady friend works in the tech industry and she is also a Millennial. She is sending him SnapChats all the time and he doesn’t know what to do with them and keeps them in a special folder on his laptop. She said that he might as well be wearing a track suit if he got a big iPhone, because within the cool-kid tech zone you want the smallest iPhone you can get. He said that he is not a Millennial and he is going to get the iPhone that suits him and that he likes best, one that is bigger than the initial television sets from 1948, that he can watch an entire movie on and that he can look at other people’s Instagram on and will be able to see what the picture is about. She dropped the gauntlet and said that she will not be seen with him in public in that case. Then John got an iPhone that came out of a woman’s purse at a tweet-up and he didn’t have to think about it anymore.

John getting an iPhone at a tweet-up (RL215)

For a long time John was carrying around a broken iPhone 5s and one time at a tweet-up in San Francisco everyone around the table remarked on his screwed-up phone and how embarrassing it was because he does a tech podcast with Merlin Mann and should have a good iPhone. John is kind of a tech celeb! The young guy next to John leaned over to his wife and said ”Give him this iPhone”, but his wife said she was using it as her camera. She was an Android developer and just took his old iPhone with her as a better camera.

She dug in her purse, pulled out an iPhone and he said that it was his iPhone, but she was using it as a camera. He was being very generous and kept saying that they were developers and his point was that she is an Android developer and shouldn’t even have an iPhone! It was like church and state! She was on an Android all day and yet she wanted his iPhone because it is a better media device.

John didn’t ask to be part of this drama, but the guy wanted John to have his phone and he said he would work it out with his fiancé. They were web-developers and you have no idea! He slid his iPhone over to John and said that he got 20 of these. It took John 2 weeks to figure out how to unlock the god damn thing! Now John got an iPhone 6, which is a good phone, except for how slippery it is, but John put a case on it that says ”Junior Firefighter - Burien and Normandy Park Fire Department”

John’s first Apple computers (RL215)

For 15 years, Apple has been making things that you cannot not get. John tied himself to them and he buckled himself around the neck to them in about 2004 when they went to the UCSF computer store from which their show’s image is derived. John got himself a beautiful white iBook that he lost in Chile when it was stolen out of his bag. He is still mad about it and wishes pox upon the house of the person who took it!

It was a nice computer and John assumes it would still be running iOS 6 and he would still be using it. Even before that John was invested in the blue & white tower, the Yosemite G3. He bought some recording software that required that he had a board put into the tower. He opened up the tower himself and put the board in there. It was a big time! It is a thing that you can’t just sell because you personalized it, although that board now is worth $0.

When John went into the store the last time, he felt like he was so eeled to this ecosystem that he was one of these New Yorker cartoons where two guys with long beards are hanging by shackles in a dungeon and one of them said ”There are 50.000 bricks in my cell and I’ve counted them all” and the other one said ”Have you named them yet?” Apple can do whatever they want to with John! They took away the black turtlenecks and replaced them with people in Kinko’s shirts that are telling him they are partnering with Yosemite Sam, with Mario and with Yogi Bear.

Photo Booth (RL215)

Photo Booth is a song from an EP by Death Cab For Cutie, but everybody at Barsuk understood that it was a hit. It is The Commander Thinks Aloud problem which is also a good song that was only on an EP, but the power of the good song failed to move units of the album. At Barsuk it is called the Photo Booth problem: The Commander Thinks Aloud is probably John’s most known song because it has been popularized through multiple sources of dissemination like the Song Exploder, but Adam Savage also plays it at his show.

John’s grandfather (RL215)

John’s grandfather from his mother's side split town in 1936 by going out for cigarettes and never coming back. He hopped a freight as part of his hoboing and he apparently kept his money in his bottom, but there was never a situation where some hobo colonel came back and said ”Your father kept this watch in his bottom” John doesn’t even remember where he heard that. It sounds like a speculation! Nobody would have known that because he wouldn’t have said it. He might have had a $100 bill with him or a gold coin, because that was the era of gold coins. Eventually he did come back with some cigarettes.

At a certain point John's great-grandfather looked down at the 5-year old and the 3-year olds he was raising and said ”This is bullshit!” He threw them in the back of his 1934 Chevvy and drove across the country from Ohio to California on Route 66. According to John’s mom they spent the whole drive sitting up on the package shelf in the back of the Chevvy. They drove around California, asking people ”Have you seen this guy?”, found him and told him to get his ass back to Ohio to raise his god-damn kids. John’s great-grandfather was nobody to mess around with. He was old pioneer-stock and he put a new roof on his own barn at the age of 92.

The Apollo computers (RL215)

The other day Merlin watched Apollo 13 as a family, which was really fun. It is a really good movie! It was never clear that the space race was going to work out. Recently a guy bought the Apollo computers from a junk heap at a scrap auction, which is just as strange as the BBC erasing Dr Who: Why would they not have this in a museum?

Recently some hacker-bro dug around, found this guy and the computers, powered them back up and downloaded the software. He said the myth that they sent a man to the moon with the power of an LED watch is wrong and these are actually really powerful computers that are built genius-style and they are awesome! (maybe here) One wonders what other dead sea scrolls are out there? Somebody is going to use them as firestarter until somebody else will ask ”What are those?”

Taping over old TV shows (RL215)

The whole first half of the Carson show was all taped over to make Metamucil ads until Carson eventually realized it. He had just assumed they would take care of that, but they didn’t. One day he wanted to call up the reels from that show from 1970, but they had re-used those reels because 2-inch tape was very expensive. That was the point when Carson took complete control over every aspect of his show. He had the power and all of you fuckers take a big step back! They were going to put every single tape in a salt mine in Utah.

The BBC was the worst about this, not just with Dr. Who, but with tons of stuff. There are archives based on Kinescope where they shot a movie camera at a TV. It is the original pirating! There is more stuff from the I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners era than from the late 1960s.

Prodigy (RL215)

Firestarter is a song by Prodigy. Keith Flint, the singer with the 5 Mohawks didn’t even write that song, but it was Liam Howlett, one of those Billy Corgan grouches who got super-mad that he was the genius of that band while Mr Crazy 5 Mohawks and 7 nose rings who originally was a back-up dancer became a mega-star and Liam got cut out of the star thing. He was not as interesting-looking as Keith, the titular Firestarter-guy. John doesn’t know what happened then because he stopped reading Cue Magazine around that time.

There was also Leeroy Thornhill, who was a dancer and occasional live keyboardist. They also had a female dancer and vocalist called Sharky. Whenever somebody is described as a vocalist, you know they have no contribution to the writing. Linda McCartney was a vocalist! Specifying that he was the ”live” keyboard player makes sure nobody thinks for a second that he played a single note on the record. Every once in a while he would walk past a keyboard and hit one button that had probably been painted in a different color so he couldn’t make a mistake. Prodigy are from Braintree, Essex.

Braintree, Essex (RL215)

John has been to Braintree, Essex and he hated the name. There is another one in Massachusetts and John doesn’t like that one either. The river that runs through Braintree is full of shopping carts, but they call them trolleys. John bought a flat of strawberries on the high street for £2 and as he went around the corner there was an identical flat of strawberries for £1, one block off the high street, and John said ”Fuck Braintree, Fuck this High Street, Fuck these particular strawberries, fuck this shopping cart river! I’m going to keep on keeping on”

Volvo mechanics in jail (RL215)

There is a bar in Seattle called The Two Bells where John’s former room mate worked as a short order cook. At night he would go home to the jail where he slept, which was great for John because he was no longer living in their house, but he was still paying rent and his stuff was all there, but he wasn’t around because he was spending the night in jail and they would only let him out to go to work. The bad side was that it meant one less guy John could steal pot from.

In the English class system of Scandinavian cars a Volvo went to Oxford or Cambridge. Whenever a Volvo-mechanic gets sent to jail, it always strikes John as stranger than if a Chevvy or Toyota mechanic goes to jail. You don’t think a Volvo mechanic is going to jail, because those guys are probably sitting at home making furniture while the BMW-guys are probably running the jail.

Many years ago John was walking down the street in Portland, Oregon and he came about a Volvo which had been low-rided, like that scene in the movie Bachelor Party.

Visit from the gas company (RL215)

While John was recording the show, a man in a vest was knocking on the front door. He was from the gas company and he sounded very suave. John got the impression he was from Nigeria, he had an awesome accent and he was carrying a wand which presumably is a gas detection wand to check if there are any slow leaks.

John blew a great Cinemax opportunity because a Nigerian with a wand showed up at his door and he said ”Just be on your way!”, but when a Nigerian with a wand shows up at John’s door he does not expect him to wear a reflective vest. Instead he is really waiting for the one who is wearing a velvet rope and is hitting himself with a little brush to knock the flies away. There are also three ladies behind him throwing rose pedals everywhere he walks.

The Filson Smokey Bear watch (RL215)

The other day John got an email from Filson about their Smokey Bear watch made by the Shinola company, which is a brand from Ye Olden times that has been bought by some 50 year old hipster during the last 5 years. Now there are Macklemores making watches that say "Shinola ca 1912" and the watch costs $1000. In a hattrick of branding, Shinola has put a Smokey Bear face on a Filson watch to commemorate the National Park system. John looked at it and gosh darn it if that Smokey Bear face wasn’t somewhat enticing to him, but then he realized that he was being manipulated and they might as well have put a Mr Yuk face on it. If they did, John would be upstairs in his shoe box, counting out his silver dollars. Only you!

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